Looking after your oral hygiene can go a long way in preventing problems like cavities, tooth loss, and toothaches, especially if you’re aged. Keep in mind that it becomes all the more necessary to take extra care of your mouth if you have cardiovascular disease or diabetes or take medicines that risk your oral health.
Here are some tips to help older adults keep their teeth and gums healthy:
Go for Regular Dental Check-Ups
Every person has a different requirement in terms of the number of times they need to visit their dentist. Ask your dentist how often you must come in for a check-up.
Brush and Floss Daily
Dental plaque, which is a sticky film of germs, needs to be removed daily. Failure to do so can cause gum disease or tooth decay. Brushing and flossing help in eliminating plaque and maintaining oral hygiene.
As a general rule, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice every day—after breakfast and before hitting the sack at night. Additionally, floss between your teeth daily. If you have difficulty flossing, ask your dentist whether using a pick or special brush would work.
Switch to Healthy Habits
If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Heavy consumption of alcohol puts you at a higher risk of getting oral cancer. The recommended number of drinks per day for women and men is one and two, respectively.
Quit smoking and using other tobacco products as these increase your risk of oral cancer. You’re also more prone to getting gum disease if you smoke.
Eat healthily and reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks to prevent cavities and improve your overall health.
Monitor Changes in Your Mouth
Consult your doctor or dentist if you notice any symptoms, such as a swollen jaw, numbness in the mouth or tongue, or a white or red patch in your mouth, persisting for more than two weeks.
Consult Your Doctor if You Have a Dry Mouth
Lack of adequate saliva in your mouth leads to dry mouth, which makes talking, eating, or swallowing difficult – this can also cause tooth infection.
You may get dry mouth as a side effect of consuming certain medicines, if you’re undergoing chemotherapy, or if you suffer from conditions like diabetes. In any case, if you have dry mouth, inform your dentist about it, and discuss potential treatments.